Watch Out for Robins!

Many Virginians notice an explosion of American Robins in early-to-mid-March– these birds seem to be everywhere! Many people consider robins the “harbingers of spring”, which means they are right on time.

Many American Robins actually spend the entire winter in their breeding range, but they’re less noticeable, since they spend more time roosting in trees. Many more robins do migrate south for the winter – not because of the cold weather, but because of food resources. These omnivorous birds eat a large variety of invertebrates and fruit.

At this time of year, the migrating robins are making their way north again. If you’ve been seeing huge flocks of robins around your neighborhood this week, take note: these are likely male robins! Males return to their breeding grounds before the females to stake out a territory. The females stay behind and arrive a few days to about two weeks later, when conditions are more favorable for nest-building. The female American Robin does most of the construction and relies on finding just the right kind of mud to make her nest stick together.

As these robins continue their journeys north, take a moment to watch and enjoy these birds. If you are driving, slow down and allow robins ample time to fly out of the road. Keep cats indoors to protect robins – and all wildlife – in this busy spring season!

Fun Facts About Robins:

  • The Wildlife Center treated 91 American Robins in 2017. This was the most numerous passerine species admitted.
  • The American Robin is the state bird of Connecticut, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
  • According to the Birds of North America online, robins choose their mate primarily based on plumage; robins tend to choose a mate with a similar breast color to themselves.
  • A female robin builds her nest from the inside out; she uses the “wrist” of one wing to press the nest into a cup shape. She typically builds a new nest for each brood.